People who have caught fish in the Yellowstone River between the spill site, six miles upstream from Glendive, and the North Dakota state line should be cautious about consuming them.
This week FWP biologists started capturing fish below the oil spill site and sending them to a laboratory for testing. Biologists and game wardens also are asking anglers if they will donate fish from their catch for laboratory testing. Test results should be returned in the next two weeks and FWP will publish the data so fishermen can determine whether their catch is suitable for consumption.
Published research indicates that petroleum compounds can accumulate in fish for 40 or more days after a spill. FWP will continue to sample fish throughout the river to try to detect any accumulation. Petroleum compounds can also be passed on to fish through the food chain when micro-organisms, insects, worms, crustaceans and other aquatic animals absorb petroleum compounds then are eaten by fish.
The advisory was issued as a precaution, advising anglers to tend toward conservative decisions and prudent practice when it comes to the health effects of the oil spill.
In addition to paddlefish and endangered pallid sturgeon, this stretch of the Yellowstone River holds channel catfish, sauger, walleye, northern pike, bigmouth buffalo, black bullhead, black crappie, bluegill, blue sucker, brassy minnow, brook stickleback, burbot, cisco, common carp, creek chub, emerald shiner, fathead minnow, flathead chub, freshwater drum, goldeye, golden shiner, green sunfish, lake chub, largemouth bass, longnose dace, longnose sucker, mountain sucker, northern redbelly dace, plains minnow, plains killifish, pumpkinseed, rainbow smelt, river carpsucker, sand shiner, shorthead redhorse, shortnose gar, shovelnose sturgeon, sicklefin chub, smallmouth bass, smallmouth buffalo, spottail shiner, stonecat, sturgeon chub, western silvery minnow, white bass, white crappie, white sucker, yellow bullhead and yellow perch.
People with questions or who want to report contaminated fish or wildlife may call the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 7 office at 406-234-0900. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also has set up a toll-free telephone number — 888-959-8351 – to report oil-covered wildlife.